Rotterdam to welcome Turkish contemporary art next month

Rotterdam to welcome Turkish contemporary art next month

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Rotterdam to welcome Turkish contemporary art next month

Istanbul Modern’s curator Levent Çalıkoğlu says that it is the first Turkish contemporary art exhibition in the Netherlands and expects interest from Turks there.

A selection from Istanbul Modern’s Turkish contemporary art collection is soon to take a journey to the Dutch city of Rotterdam as part of an exchange project powered by the two countries’ diplomatic institutions. “What we had chiefly in mind while making the selection was to bring together the most iconic and prominent works that showcase the transformation in the last 40 years of Turkish contemporary art,” Levent Çalıkoğlu, the museum’s curator, said.

“Istanbul Modern-Rotterdam” opens March 10 and will continue through June 10.

Istanbul has been the stage of a series of art events that celebrate the birth of diplomatic and commercial ties between the Dutch and the Turks, which date back to some 400 years now. As part of these events, Istanbul Modern is currently displaying an exhibition titled “La La La: Human Steps,” which includes works from Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum’s collection. 

“The project took start in 2009 when I was invited to Holland to meet with around 20 museums for the exchange. In the end we decided to work with Boijmans Museum, which we have established close ties with through our artist Sarkis. He knows Sjarel Ex, the museum’s director and the curator of the ‘La La La’ exhibit, as a friend,” he said.

The exhibition is a first in the Netherlands

Çalıkoğlu said that in making the exhibition selection he always thought about how he should locate his chief concern in the 400th anniversary context. “It was a matter of what we want to say to the audience there. As a young contemporary art museum our chief concern is to promote Turkish contemporary art in the world. This is our third exhibition abroad with our own collection. The first two were in 2009 in Berlin and Seoul. Therefore, we had to select among the most prominent works from our collection which also have a say about the totality of Turkish contemporary art.”

Recalling that this was to be the first Turkish contemporary art exhibition in the Netherlands, Çalıkoğlu said Rotterdam had the second most dense Turkish population of all the European cities and he expected an interest from the Turkish people living there.

Selection of works by the most prominent names

Çalıkoğlu said he particularly chose among the works that one way or another point to body and identity politics and they will be presented in the exhibition hall with a particular care to the similarity of what they say. 
“Our exhibition spread to a few rooms. The first room shows Nil Yalter’s famous 1974 video ‘Belly Dance.’ On the wall across is İnci Eviner’s 2009 work titled ‘New Citizen,’ which problematizes the position and role granted to the young women as it tracks it down through the historical memory. On the wall across is Nezaket Ekici’s 2002 work ‘Emotion in Motion,’ which focuses on body and performance, and Fatma Tülin’s 1990 work ‘Nude.’”

The second room will be hosting mostly self-portraits, with a particular focus on the transformation of the genre, Çalıkoğlu said. “This room will be showing Taner Ceylan’s 2006 work ‘Alp on a White Background,’ Balkan Naci İslimyeli’s 1990 work ‘Straitjacket,’ and Nilbar Güreş’s 2006 work ‘Undressing,’ all envisaging the body like a crust, a piece of skin, either in political or individual context.”

According to Çalıkoğlu, the third room will bring Sarkis and Ramazan Bayrakoğlu face-to-face. Bayrakoğlu’s 2010 work “Fire” and Sarkis’s 2007 work “The Stained Glass of the Innocents” will be presented in juxtaposition in terms of the material, because while the latter employs stained glass, which has very strong traditional references, to depict the fantastic, the former employs laser-cut plexiglass to depict the mundane.

“The other room will host Ayşe Erkmen’s ‘Mines,’ Canan Tolon’s 2006 work ‘Glitch’ and two works by :mentalKLINIK. And the last room is hosting Hale Tenger’s ‘Beirut,’” Çalıkoğlu said.